Monday, December 19, 2016

Pantat: Traditional Community Festival in Zarraga

Zarraga, Iloilo will celebrate its heritage and cuisine with the annual Pantat Festival on December 17-23, 2016 with its highlight, the tribal dance competition on December 23 (Friday) at 3 p.m. at the municipal football field.

Considered as one of the largest festivals in the Second Congressional District of the province, Zarraganhons annually honours its best produce, Pantat or Catfish on a grand scale with “don’t-miss” special events daily. 

The festival is a unique attraction that offers fun and entertainment for both locals and visitors alike. It also showcases the popular local catfish dishes available in our local eateries. Locals show how to make the most of this bounty, with a chance to watch learn and try other delicious dishes.

There is always a special atmosphere at the festival, a unique mix of Zarraga’s vibrant holiday scene and the traditional community thriving with catfish farms. Together they bring the town to life for this week-long annual event and provide its community with a showcase to be proud of.

In this town, commercial aquaculture is considered to be economically practical. Catfish farming developed rapidly alongside with improvements in pond management, disease identification and control, feeds were developed and adopted by local catfish farmers.

Catfish farming is much more than just stocking a pond with fish, feeding them, and then reaping the profits a few months later. It requires a large investment and carries a high risk. Intensive catfish culture requires management almost 24 hours a day during most of the year, and Zarraganhons had been providing this type of management many years back. Commercial catfish ponds are a popular sight in this area.

The future of the catfish industry in Zarraga is clear. The industry will continue to grow as
the market for catfish in Iloilo is well developed. Once considered a product of interest only in Zarraga, catfish can now be found in restaurants and on menus in many restaurants throughout Iloilo.

The focus of Pantat Festival is on honouring those who contribute to the fishing industry in Zarraga. The festivity celebrates the contribution made to Zarraga by those persons involved in the local catfish farming industry.

Located in the northeastern portion of Iloilo, the municipality of Zarraga is 16 kilometers away from Iloilo City.  Zarraga is at a converging point for the two national highways: the main roads of Central Panay, including the provinces of Aklan and Capiz; and the northern towns of Iloilo Provinces.

It has a land area of 5, 448 hectares where 660 hectares are intended for fishponds. The town is subdivided into 24 barangays. To get to Zarraga, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza or at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

10th KASAG Festival in Banate

Banate, Iloilo will celebrate the bounty of its seas and tourism through Kasag Festival on December 15 – 23, with the tribal dance competition on December 21, 2016 at 6 a.m. This annual event of food and fun starring of course, the blue crab is also every visitor’s chance to explore the town, its waterfront with activities on land and by water in and around the area.

The blue crab, locally known as Kasag is perhaps the most sought-after shellfish in Iloilo where the majority of the catch is commercial. Despite their name, blue crabs are typically more of a gray to dull blue-green in color. Only their claws are truly blue, with the claws of mature females tipped in a bright orange-red. With three pairs of walking legs, blue crabs generally walk sideways, clearing a path with sharp lateral spines. Large, powerful claws are used for defense, digging, sexual displays and to gather food.

Crabbing is part of Banate's heritage, and crab feasts are a favorite local tradition. Heaps of blue crabs (now red, after steaming), are piled high on newspaper-covered tables and eagerly devoured in residential backyards, in local restaurants and picnic sites.

Kasag Festival began in 2007 to market its popular industry: Blue Crab, a well-known and popular food among Ilonggos. It is organized and produced annually by the municipal government for the benefit of the residents of Banate. The festivity is a time for the community to celebrate the abundant resources that they receive from the sea.

It is the intent of the organizer of the festival to coordinate a variety of family oriented activities that will provide men, women and children a festive and fun recreational outlet. It is also intended to boost local tourism to enhance their business and organizations and assist as a fundraising opportunity to raise needed revenues. The measure of the success of Kasag festival is both in community participation and in financial revenues earned.

The original celebration of the festival was held every 24th day of June highlighted by the tribal dance competition set on the final day of its Annual Religious Town Fiesta in honor of St. John the Baptist.

Come out and enjoy the celebration. Tell your family and friends and come join the people of Banate for a wonderful 9-day long of delicious food and fun music.

The coastal town of Banate in northern Iloilo is 50 kilometers from the city center. Its land area measuring 11,886 hectares shares border with Barotac Viejo and San Enrique in the northwest; Banate Bay in the southeast; and Dingle and Anilao in the west. The town is politically subdivided into 18 barangays.

To get to Banate, visitors can take a Ceres Bus at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Magical Evening with IWAG Christmas Festival of Lights

Pototan, Iloilo transforms its grounds into a spectacular wonderland of lights. Its magnificent drive-through Christmas Light Show is bigger and better every year. This year, the town will feature even more light displays with sparkling lights professionally done to cover its entire plaza complex. 

So, if you are wondering where you can find the best Christmas lights in Iloilo, then look no further. The IWAG Christmas Festival of Lights will open after a short program at around 6 p.m. of December 16, 2016 with an opening salvo of the Street Dancing Competition at 1 p.m. The celebration is a must-see holiday attraction for the entire family.

The history of Christmas lights dates back all the way to northern Europe with its winter light tradition. This pagan ritual of bonfire of sorts represents their hope of ending the darkness of December and that the sun would once again shine. Christmas lights have come a long way, from the early bonfires to candles on Christmas trees, and to the popular LED lights that we have today.

Many towns in Iloilo have pushed the limits of creativity in terms of decorating their municipal plazas with Christmas lights. And It just would not be Christmas time in Iloilo without the flickering lights that have become a part of our Christmas tradition, a symbol of prosperity and end-of-the-year celebration as much as the birth of Jesus.

It was in 1997 when a group of Pototanons (IWAG) organized themselves and had since become a strong and dedicated partner of its Municipal Government in the preparation and the celebration of lights every December.

Since then, the celebration of the Christmas Festival of Lights has become a tradition not only of the people of Pototan but the entire Ilonggo community that they look forward to each year. It was declared by the Department of Tourism, Regional Office as the "Christmas Capital of Western Visayas.”

There is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than strolling through its festival of lights. Bring everyone, young and old and experience IWAG Christmas Festival of Lights all choreographed to your favourite holiday classics.

Adding to the magic of the night will be the eat treats available on-site while enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas in a whole new way. Make a holiday memory this year that the kids will remember for a lifetime.

Pototan’s IWAG Christmas Festival of Lights will run until January 2, 2017.

Celebrating Tubungan’s Colorful and Vibrant Cultural Festival

Tubungan, Iloilo on its 250th Foundation Anniversary will celebrate the 17th Tubong-Tubong Festival, the town’s tradition that runs ...